MicroMasters Online Degree Gains Momentum: Fourteen edX Universities Adopt this Credential – edX Moves Beyond MOOCs

This is a milestone for edX and its consortium partners, and it marks an evolution beyond the “classic” MOOCs, following edX’s mission of enabling learners to access high-quality, career-relevant education in an affordable and flexible manner.

Fourteen top universities that belong to the edX consortium have announced the adoption of the MicroMasters online credential created by MIT, and the launch of eighteen programs.

Among these universities are Columbia University, offering a microcredential in artificial intelligence and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, with MicroMasters degrees in user experience (UX), research design, leading educational innovation and improvement, and social work: practice, policy and research. This first course starts on October 4 and is open for enrollment now.

Basically, this MicroMasters credential has no admission requirement and enables online learners to take a semester’s worth of master’s-level courses on edx.org and then, if accepted, to complete a master’s degree in a single full semester on campus.

The first MicroMaster, Supply-Chain Management, launched on October of 2015, attracted over 127,000 students worldwide. More than 7,000 signed up for verified ID certificates in at least one course, according to MIT News.

Sanjay Sarma, Vice President for Open Learning at MIT, explained: “Not all high-potential master’s candidates can afford to spend a year or more on campus, so it’s important to provide multiple pathways to a degree. MicroMasters gives learners the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities through a series of online courses, earn a valuable credential and, if they excel, complete their master’s with an additional semester’s residence.”

Regarding the economics of this initiative, The Chronicle offered this view:

“MIT piloted its first micro-master’s in supply-chain management last fall. Students who complete five online courses — and pay about $1,000 in fees for proctored exams for the courses — earn the credential. Those students are also eligible to get the credit transferred to MIT toward a full master’s degree if they win acceptance to that in-person program. To get a sense of the odds, though, consider that MIT admits about 40 students a year to its supply-chain management master’s program, while 3,500 people paid to take courses in the online micro-master’s series in the past year, according to Anant Agarwal, head of edX, in an interview on Monday.”


This is the full list of institutions and MicroMasters programs:

United States

  • Columbia University (ColumbiaX): Artificial Intelligence
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MITx): Supply Chain Management
  • Rochester Institute of Technology (RITx): Project Management
  • Thunderbird School of Global Management, a unit of the Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise (ThunderbirdX): International Business Management
  • University of Michigan (MichiganX): User Experience (UX) Research and Design; Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement; Social Work: Practice, Policy and Research


  • Australian National University (ANUx): Evidence-Based Management
  • Curtin University (CurtinX): Human Rights
  • Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPolyUx): International Hospitality Management
  • Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMBx): Business Management; Entrepreneurship
  • Université Catholique de Louvain (LouvainX): Management (offered in French); International Law
  • The University of Queensland, Australia (UQx): Leadership in Global Development
  • Wageningen University (WageningenX): Biobased Sciences for Sustainability

Offered in Spanish

  • Galileo University (GalileoX): e-Learning: crea actividades y contenidos para la enseñanza virtual (offered in Spanish); Professional Android Developer
  • Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPValenciaX): Liderazgo y trabajo en equipo en grupos de mejora continua (offered in Spanish)